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Jazzercise, a fitness program founded in California 50 years ago, has grown in popularity through the years to include fitness centers all around the world. Melissa Horsell, a certified Jazzercise instructor for the past 15 years, owns Jazzercise Middletown Fitness Center. Though the Jazzercise program has been in existence for five decades, the regimen has evolved over time to stay hip and current.

“It’s not the same class that your mom took in the ‘80s,” Horsell says. “There’s new music, new moves and several different formats.”

Jazzercise instructors stay on top of the latest industry trends, and the streamlined level of instruction that comes from the corporate office sets Jazzercise apart from other programs.

“You could take a class anywhere in the world and know what to expect because it’s taught the same way,” says Horsell, who first started teaching Jazzercise in a church ten years ago on the east side of Louisville.

Within 18 months, Horsell’s classes had grown enough to necessitate a commercial space. Now her program has expanded to a third location, and recently reached the 10-year mark.

“It’s grown from just me teaching five classes a week to having ten instructors teaching 40 classes a week,” Horsell says.

Though men are welcome to join, Jazzercise tends to appeal more to women who seek both physical and social perks.

“It’s a very supportive group,” Horsell says. “These ladies look out for one another. People come here as much for emotional fitness as physical fitness.”

Such is the case for member Chinelle Bowdy.

“We are there for each other through all the good times, as well as to encourage and support each other through the low points too,” Bowdy says.

Jazzercise Middletown offers weekday morning childcare so stay-at-home moms can also enjoy fitness and fellowship. Jazzercise classes can be modified to accommodate any age and fitness level.

“We have women in their 20s and those in their 80s,” Horsell says. “It’s been my only form of exercise for 15 years and I’m more fit now in my 40s than I was in my 20s. I love the combination of cardio and strength training, fun music, and motivating environment.”

Members pay just $59 per month for unlimited classes. The program’s flagship class is a format called Dance Mixx, which includes 35 minutes of cardiovascular exercise and 25 minutes of strength training. Horsell’s facility also offers a high-intensity interval class as well as a 30-minute express class for those who need to squeeze in a quick workout over a lunch break.

“People tell me all the time, ‘Jazzercise got me through XYZ in my life,’” Horsell says. “They’ll tell me that their bone density has improved or that they recovered exponentially faster from a surgery. Jazzercise is the present you give yourself every day.”

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